Hartweg’s Odontostomum

Hartweg’s odontostomum (Odontostomum hartwegii) is a native perennial endemic to California. It is found at elevations up to 2,000 feet in the inner Coastal Mountains and the Sierra Nevada foothills. Its habitat is well-drained, rocky clay and serpentine soils.

An erect, simple or branched stem grows from a deep-seated, oval-shaped corm. The linear leaves of Hartweg’s odontostomum are mostly basal and sheath the stem. The cauline (stem) leaves are reduced in size becoming reduced to bracts subtending the inflorescence. which is a raceme or panicle (unbranched or branched inflorescence maturing from the bottom up).

The numerous Hartweg’s odontostomum flowers have pedicels (stalks). The flowers consist of 6 white or yellowish tepals (structures not distinctly sepals or petals).  The lower portion of the tepals are fused into a tube with 3 to 7 veins. The tips of the tepals are reflexed above the tubes. Six stamens and 6 staminodes (sterile stamens) are inserted in the throat of the flower in an alternating manner. The ovary has three stigmas.

Hartweg’s odontostomum fruits are oval capsules with 3 lobes. In each cavity is one dark brown seed.

The genus, Odontostomum, is from Greek and refers to the shape of the staminodes: “odonta” meaning tooth and “stoma” meaning mouth. Karl Theodor Hartweg (1812 – 1871), honored by the species designation, was a German who collected plants and seeds for the London Horticultural Society.

Another common name for Hartweg’s odontostomum is Hartweg’s doll’s lily. These specimens were growing along Grizzly Gulch Road in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (Shasta County County CA).

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